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What To Netflix: Post-WWII Films

One of the best things about The Good German is the way it explores the extraordinary problems faced by ordinary people in the months following World War II. But The Good German is merely okay, so why not add one of these to more moving films to your Netflix queue? Each tackles a distinct part of the post-war experience, in the U.S., in Germany, and in London.


The Best Years of Our Lives

Don't be fooled by the sappy title: This is a very thought-provoking story that follows three American servicemen who return from the war emotionally and physically altered and find it impossible to live exactly the way they used to. This revered but often overlooked classic (the year it was released, it took home seven Oscars) is especially poignant now.

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The End of the Affair

For Maurice Bendrix (Ralph Fiennes), the end of the war is bittersweet, since it means the abrupt end to his affair with Sarah (Julianne Moore). In this merely faithful adaptation of the stunning Graham Greene classic, we see their love unfold through flashbacks accented with air-raid sirens, and the viewer, along with Bendrix, tries to figure out why exactly Sarah left. The answer will surprise you.


The Murderers Are Among Us

The actual bombed-out ruins of Berlin are a major character in this German "rubble film," which follows two individuals coping with very different effects of war. Susanne Wallner (Hildegard Knef) returns from a concentration camp to find her apartment inhabited by Dr. Hans Mertens (Ernst Wilhelm Borchert), a German army surgeon haunted by his past. The relationship that unfolds between them is one of extreme empathy, and the fact that the movie was made in 1946 makes it even more striking.

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